Tuesday, October 2, 2007

How it all started

I have been running role-playing games (RPGs) for the better part of my life.

Among the numerous games I ran, Vampire: The Masquerade has to be at the top of my list both in terms of play frequency and satisfaction from the players involved. I ran a Paris by Night chronicle for nearly eight years before changing my gaming focus to Dungeons and Dragons' Third Edition.

Through my reading of Promethean: The Created I discovered that my passion for the World of Darkness did not die as I thought a few years earlier, but could be brought back to life under the right conditions. This would mean for me to take control of the World of Darkness, do away with the elements I didn't like and make my setting-by-night my own in every possible way. The new World of Darkness had this one advantage over the old: it did not have any "metaplot", or storyline elements imposed by game designers that would have forced me to make compromises.

I checked out Vampire: The Requiem. Then Werewolf: The Forsaken. I found things I liked, things I didn't like. What I didn't like, I changed. I was on a quest for a setting I could really feel comfortable with, that would fulfill all my needs as far as modern horror and fantasy go, and I wasn't going to let some elements of this or that game's background stand in my way.

Reuniting with French friends of mine over the Internet, we decided to play in this new, reloaded version of Paris by Night (PbN for short) on our message boards, Les Petits Potes. It's been going on for a few months and is still going strong. I developed my background and NPCs more and more, and the setting sort of took a life of its own.

The problem? The language divide. I have some friends who are English-speaking and just cannot understand a word of French. We're all very interested in playing a game together, but there's no way they could participate to PbN specifically.

Now, you have a game like Vampire: The Requiem where you play a cursed undead creature trying to survive plots within plots, discover mysteries pertaining to the domain(s) surrounding it, create a reputation for itself, build influence, power and respectability without succumbing to the urges of the Beast within, the part of its psyche that represents the hunger, the unholy thirst for a life it no longer has, the hideous impulse that tries to crush any remnants of humanity the monster might still possess.

Quite a program, isn't it?

Now imagine that suddenly, I learn there's a book coming out that is entitled Requiem for Rome. Rome. Blood. Sex. Poison. Murder. A basket of snakes for the ages. Now add "Rome" + "Vampire", and you get a wet dream for a guy who loves both dark fantasy and ancient history. A guy like me.

Requiem for Rome provides the dream occasion for my English-speaking friends and I to share a game set in the same universe as the rich Paris by Night chronicle I run, but with such a different time frame the two games could coexist besides each other without any need for cross-overs and translations.

That's the ultimate goal. To share a fun, entertaining game between friends. The enrichment of both PbN and Requiem for Rome chronicles by having them coexist in the same universe is icing on the cake that should fuel the entertainment everyone's having from them. It allows me to keep up with everything, not reinvent the wheel needlessly and yet, be able to have a good time with all of my friends, whatever language they use.

I don't know what I'm going to run using Requiem for Rome. At this stage, today, as a matter of fact, I proposed to run a game and am waiting for feedback from those who would be interested in playing it. We'll see how it goes from there. I will update this blog as things progress.